Victory, and a Puzzle

Good news: we have captured the Taliban’s top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Pakistan, and he is now being interrogated. The Obama administration is appropriately proud of this victory:

The commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.

That’s great, and we sincerely congratulate the administration on this accomplishment. We can’t help noting, though: why didn’t they pay for a lawyer and read Baradar his rights? If negotiating with a criminal defense lawyer is the most effective way to get information from a captured terrorist–here, among other things, the authorities are trying to learn the whereabouts of the Taliban’s long-lost leader, Mullah Omar–why didn’t they follow that paradigm with Mr. Baradar?

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